Bushfires One Year, Floods the Next: Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology

Bushfires One Year, Floods the Next: Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology
Two days of storms delivered a month worth of rain and flash flooding to some parts of Queensland. Suburb of Rosslea in Townsville, Australia on Feb. 5, 2019. (Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Last summer was marked by devastating bushfires. This year there will flooding.

That’s the view of the Bureau of Meteorology which is warning of a wetter-than-average season for most of Australia this year.

“Our climate outlook is the opposite of what we experienced last year in Australia,” BoM head of climate predictions Andrew Watkins said on Nov 26.

“This summer, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland are expected to see above-average rainfall, meaning we face an increased risk of widespread floods.”

And Northern Australia is in for an above-average cyclone season, which will start early this year.

Australia usually sees nine to 11 tropical cyclones each year, with four or so crossing the coast.

“People in the north of the country should prepare for tropical cyclones now,” Watkins said in a statement.

The active La Niña event driving the wet summer weather is expected to remain in force until at least the start of autumn.

But while the risk of bushfires isn’t as high as last year, fires will still occur with warm weather and recent rain accelerating plant growth and increasing fuel levels.

“Southeastern Australia is one of the most fire-prone regions in the world. Even short periods of hot and dry weather increase the risk of fire in summer,” Watkins said.

The country will also see multiple heatwaves and while temperatures may not reach the extremes seen in previous years, it’s still likely to be more humid than usual.

Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.
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